Giant Defy Advanced 3 review

Top all-round road bike

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £1,999.00 RRP

Our review

Top all-rounder with excellent speed, climbing ability and day-long ride comfort
Skip to view product specifications

Compared with the Defy Composite, the Advanced frame has a higher modulus Toray T700 filament carbon fibre that saves 20 per cent on the chassis weight.

  • Highs: Excellent lightweight, responsive and accurate ride that’s still mileage-friendly
  • Lows: You can find lower quality frames with better quality components for the same money
  • Buy if: You want a superb composite chassis with a decent current kit and serious upgrade potential

The result is a light frame, and that’s clearly communicated when you press on the pedals. Thanks to the basic laws of physics this is even more obvious in a climbing context, letting the Defy defy gravity more easily than many other bikes.

Increased stiffness from the press-fit ‘Powercore’ bottom bracket, oversized down tube and chunky chainstays lets you properly attack hills too. The only obvious flex comes from the handlebar and stem if you’re really labouring them brutally. Every time we ended up wrestling the front end that hard we realised we were already well clear of the competition, though, so it’s definitely not a big deal.

There’s certainly no flex from the big diameter Overdrive 2 full-carbon fork and front end when it comes to carving a line through turns. The more upright position of the Defy means we didn’t naturally kamikaze dive into corners like we tend to on Giant’s more race-orientated TCR bikes, but we repeatedly found ourselves able to tighten and turn in a lot harder than our original entry-apex-exit estimations.

We found that the front and rear-specific Giant own-brand tyres are reassuringly trustworthy even in wet conditions, and the fat bar gives a reassuringly stout connection to the road as you strain your neck looking for the line out.

So far we’ve painted a picture of a more upright bike in positional terms, but with a fairly aggressive ride. The real quality of the Defy Advanced is how Giant have built a bike that’s happy to play hard and fast with the chaingang or kick hard on climbs but doesn’t deliver a beating in return.

Fizik’s Aliante saddle is one of our favourite places to spend a day’s riding too, with the curved shape providing both a relatively comfortable ‘on the rivet’ position as well as a raised tail to push a seated gear against.

Giant Defy Advanced 3
Giant defy advanced 3:
Russell Burton/Future Publishing

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Product Specifications


Name Defy Advanced 3 (12)
Brand Giant

Description S, M, ML, L, XL, giant P-R3, front and rear specific, 700x23 tyres
Rear Wheel Weight 1780
Top Tube (cm) 54.5
Standover Height (cm) 78
Seat Tube (cm) 50
Chainstays (cm) 41.5
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 27.5
Weight (kg) 8.29
Stem giant contact Ti Overdrive 2 10cm
Shifters Shimano 105 STI
Seatpost giant vector composite aero
Saddle Fizik Aliante Delta/ manganese rails
Rims Giant P-SL1
Rear Derailleur Shimano 105
Bottom Bracket Press-fit
Headset Type Overdrive 2 tapered
Handlebar giant connect SL aluminum, 42cm
Front Wheel Weight 1230
Front Derailleur Shimano 105
Frame Weight 1060
Frame Material Advanced grade carbon
Fork Weight 390
Fork Advanced grade Overdrive 2 full carbon, 1 1/4-1½in hollow formed crown
Cranks Shimano 105, 50/34T 172.5mm arms
Chain Shimano 105
Cassette Shimano 105 11-28
Brakes Shimano 105
Wheelbase (cm) 99.5